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AOL Exec Urges Tougher Restrictions on Microsoft

April 04, 2002|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — A proposed settlement of the antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. would allow the software giant to protect its Windows operating system monopoly and boost its Internet presence, an executive from America Online testified Wednesday.

AOL Vice President John Borthwick backed alternative remedies offered by nine states still pursuing the case that aim to level the playing field for non-Microsoft software.

Without such remedies, Borthwick painted a bleak picture for Microsoft's competitors. He said the new Windows XP operating system, combined with Microsoft's .NET strategy, allows the company to dominate the emerging area of services that reside on a Web server rather than in software on a user's computer.

"Microsoft's proposed remedy does nothing to ensure that Microsoft will not use its Windows operating system to thwart platform competition in the market for Web services," he said in written testimony to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

Borthwick, in charge of AOL's Advanced Services division, was the 11th witness called by the nine states that have rejected the settlement reached in November by Microsoft and the Justice Department.

AOL, part of the giant media and entertainment empire of AOL Time Warner Inc., is a fierce rival of Microsoft. The software giant charges that its competitors have been behind the 4-year-old case from the start.

Microsoft has said sanctions against it should not go beyond specific wrongdoings upheld by a federal appeals court last year, mainly that Microsoft tried to crush an Internet browser made by Netscape Communications to preserve the Windows monopoly. Netscape later was acquired by AOL.

Kollar-Kotelly is considering whether the settlement meets a required public interest standard.

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